Alina Lee is Senior Corporate Counsel at Mailchimp, a technology company that provides an all-in-one marketing platform that seeks to help small businesses market smarter so they can grow faster. She joined Mailchimp’s legal team in January 2020 and is the primary attorney responsible for supporting the company’s marketing and advertising initiatives.
Alina is the founding Board Chair of the local Atlanta nonprofit “We Love BuHi.” We Love BuHi’s mission is to bring people and communities together for multicultural experiences to create connection, awareness, and belonging within Buford Highway’s international corridor. We Love BuHi accomplishes its mission through its award-winning oral history project that uplifts immigrant stories, relieving food insecurity, local public arts projects that showcase multicultural art, raising awareness via its popular Instagram page (follow @WeLoveBuHi), and more.
Alina also serves as a Board Member of the Korean America Bar Association and Pro Bono Partnership of Atlanta’s “SpringBoard” (their 40 and under advisory board). She is a LEAD Atlanta alum, Class of 2020.
Prior to joining Mailchimp, Alina was Senior Counsel at Southern Company Gas, a subsidiary of Southern Company. During her 4.5 years at Southern Company Gas, she was a general transactional attorney who shared legal responsibility for the full array of legal matters of Georgia Natural Gas. While at Southern Company Gas, Alina led the Georgia chapter of Southern Company Gas’ women employee resource group, the company’s largest employee resource group.
Prior to joining Southern Company Gas, Alina was in private practice at Morris, Manning & Martin and Rogers & Hardin, where she focused on mergers and acquisitions, securities regulation, and corporate governance. While at Morris, Manning & Martin, Alina was a member of the firm’s Hiring Committee, Diversity Committee, and Women’s Initiative. Alina has also Co-Chaired the Korean American Bar Association’s Programming Committee, served on Hands On Atlanta’s Steering Committee, and assisted with forming the Taiwanese Junior Chamber of Commerce of Georgia.
She received her Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University and her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Georgia. Alina competed on the University of Georgia’s #1 ranked women’s varsity golf team and is the proud daughter of Taiwanese and Korean immigrants.
Sandra Blair is an accomplished fintech executive with a broad range of payments industry experience serving in leadership roles including CIO, COO, CPO and EVP. Additionally, she has served as Senior Director at Alvarez & Marsal, a leading Management Consulting firm specializing in business performance improvement and turnaround management services. Her success is rooted in her record of building and developing teams that consistently perform at the highest level. Ms. Blair’s decision-making is meticulously informed by her comprehensive knowledge of strategy and execution. She actively serves on the boards of FinTech Atlanta and American Transaction Processors Coalition (ATPC). She is also a member of Technology Association of Georgia and Women in Payments (Wnet), and is a frequent speaker and panelist on topics including emerging trends in fintech and diversity in the workplace.
Founded in 1930, Harry Norman, REALTORS® is Atlanta's original and largest luxury residential real estate brokerage firm. It is owned by HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway company, the nation's largest full-service residential real estate company.
As the company's Vice President and General Counsel, Ashoo Sharma oversees all risk management, compliance, and litigation or regulatory matters. She serves on Harry Norman, REALTORS® senior leadership team and contributes to the HomeServices enterprise's diversity and inclusion committee.
Considered an industry expert, Ashoo regularly leads panels on topics of real estate and corporate counsel best practices. As leader for Georgia’s in-house legal community, she serves on the Association of Corporate Counsel’s Board for the Georgia chapter.
Ashoo is a past Barrister in Bleckley Inn of Court and recipient of several professional excellence articles and awards, including 2006 and 2007 “Georgia Rising Stars" by Super Lawyers publication, 2017 "GC Impact Award" by Fulton County Daily Report publication, and 2019 Top 100 Corporate Counsel by OnConferences.
Most recently in November 2020, Ashoo was appointed by Governor Kemp to the Georgia Equal Opportunity Commission's Advisory Board to help safeguard Georgians from housing and employment discrimination.
Ashoo was born in India, has lived in Atlanta for 40 years, is proud mom to 3 children, and married to her childhood sweetheart.
Megan Poonolly is a seasoned attorney, thought leader, and digital marketplace safety executive who partners with senior executives to help enhance the safety of digital marketplaces that connect users in real life. Currently, she serves as Head of Safety at Care.com, which she joined in October 2020. In her capacity as Head of Safety, Megan oversees the Care.com user safety program and leads a cross-functional team responsible for safety strategy and experience for all members of the platform.
Before joining Care.com, Megan served as Senior Safety Counsel at Uber, where she advised the company on global safety policies, procedures, and tools affecting millions of drivers, delivery people, riders, and other customers around the world. While at Uber, Megan served as the legal point of contact and SME for the global driver and courier screening program, and she advised on countless policies, procedures, and products relating to onboarding, screening, deactivations, fraud, and other safety issues. Before Uber, Megan practiced law at Seyfarth Shaw and Paul Hastings, in the employment and litigation groups, respectively. At Seyfarth Shaw, Megan focused her practice on background screening compliance and litigation and gained subject matter expertise in the FCRA and other laws relating to background screening. Megan has previously presented at the Professional Background Screeners Association conference and is the author of numerous articles and blog posts regarding safety and employment law issues. Prior to beginning her legal career, Megan worked as a systems engineer supporting projects for the Department of Defense.
Tommi Paris is a Certified Diversity Professional, certified through the Society for Diversity, and has more than 10 years of experience and increasing responsibilities in D&I, employee communications, workplace culture, and employee engagement.
She is currently the Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Southern Company Gas, which was awarded the Roosevelt Thomas Champion of Diversity Award by the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity for fostering equal opportunity as well as exhibiting outstanding commitment to diversity. She leads a team of professionals that builds, facilitates, and executes the D&I strategy for a workforce of more than 4,300 employees across the natural gas businesses of the Southern Company. She has responsibility for the evolution of the employee resource group program, which includes 9 groups with 18 chapters in four states. Tommi also leads the development of employee engagement initiatives and strategies to build leadership capabilities to foster an inclusive work environment.
Leaders who work with Tommi can attest to her strategic approach to developing initiatives that reinforce the value of an inclusive culture in enhancing the employee experience, delighting customers, and delivering results. She humanizes workplace inclusion through storytelling experiences that honor the richness of individual and collective histories while also creating learning opportunities that teach practical skills and principles of inclusive leadership. Tommi is proud of her ability to build authentic, trusting relationships with employees at all levels of the organization, including developing and delivering executive leadership engagements.
In her spare time, Tommi referees NCAA Division I women’s college basketball, which allows her to practice conflict resolution and manage competitive tension; she considers these to be her super powers.
Adwoa M. Awotwi is General Counsel of LocumTenens.com, LLC, an Atlanta-based company focused on innovative medical staffing solutions. Prior to joining LocumTenens.com, Adj served as Assistant General Counsel of Jackson Healthcare, the parent company of LocumTenens.com. Prior to her work with the Jackson family of companies, Adj was a senior associate with the law firm of Kilpatrick Stockton, LLP (now Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, LLP), in its Atlanta office, where her practice focused on securities regulation, corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, investment management and general corporate advice.
Adj currently serves as the Immediate Past Chair of the Board of Directors of Truancy Intervention Project Georgia, Inc. and is a member of the Board of Directors of both North Fulton Community Charities (NFCC) and Premier Academy. She is also an Advisory Board member of KIPP Soul Primary School. Adj also makes time to serve on the Yale Alumni Schools Committee and relishes the opportunity to interview high school students seeking to attend her alma mater. Adj enjoys community service and pro bono work and, in 2005, was named the Kilpatrick Stockton Pro Bono Associate of the Year and was also nominated for the Truancy Intervention Project’s “Volunteer of the Year” honor that same year. In June 2008, Adj was profiled as an “Up & Comer” by Atlanta Woman Magazine. In May of 2018, Adj was honored as the “Volunteer of the Year” by the Truancy Intervention Project.
Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Adj received her undergraduate degree from Yale University and her J.D. from Duke University School of Law. She currently resides in Atlanta, Georgia and is seeking out a fun new hobby after recently retiring from playing semi-contact flag football. In her spare time, Adj likes to watch sports and cheer on the New Orleans Saints, the LSU Tigers’ football team and the Duke Blue Devils’ basketball team. She also enjoys traveling, reading and listening to music.
Michelle Ruff’s practice presently centers around licensing and compliance. Since 2012 she has served as a legal advisor to corporate counsel and leaders at Amrock, a title and technology company located in Detroit, Michigan. She is heavily relied upon for matters in Texas and is an expert in all matters pertaining to title, curative, real estate and settlement services for the State of Georgia.
Prior to working for Amrock, Michelle was in private practice handling real estate, family, criminal, unemployment appeals, social security appeals and immigration matters. She is a seasoned family law litigator and believes that her civil litigation practice has helped her to skillfully find creative legal solutions to meet complex compliance issues.
She graduated with her B.A. in Communications from Oakwood University, Huntsville, AL in 1996 and with a M.A. in Communications from Morehead State University, Morehead, KY in 1998. A 2001 graduate of the Louis D. Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, Michelle participated in the Immigration Clinic as a student; received an award for her public service work; and, was an active member of the Diversity Committee. After graduation, she begin her career working with Farmworker Legal Services in Michigan and proudly continued her non-profit service with Cobb County Legal Aid, a division of Atlanta Legal Aid and the Latin American Association before going into private practice. She is a member of the Kentucky, Michigan and Georgia Bar Associations.
Michelle has put together training materials on cultural sensitivity for guardian ad litems and spoken on the impact of natural disasters on immigrants for young lawyers assisting Hurricane Katrina victims.
Most importantly, Michelle has two adult children, who endured college, graduate and law school with her as a single mother. She is an avid fitness enthusiast who volunteers to teach a workout class to senior citizens in Atlanta, Georgia, where she lives.
“Disrupt the norm.” These are not just words to Shareka L. Nelson. They are a core part of her life philosophy and a guiding principle in shaping her personal and professional path. In her work as a diversity and inclusion professional, Shareka counts her ability to drive positive transformation through challenging the status quo as one of her greatest professional talents.
With over twenty years of experience in human resources, specifically talent acquisition and diversity and inclusion, Shareka is a seasoned leader with a unique ability to translate business goals into people strategy. Her work focuses on driving for innovation through creating organizations that reflect the different perspectives and communities of the world, while actively working to be inclusive and equitable. She has led talent organizations for several global Fortune 500 organizations and is recognized as a results-oriented thought leader in diversity, inclusion, senior leadership coaching, employee engagement, and analytics. She also provides direct consulting support to organizations and individuals through Intentional Impact Group, LLC.
Shareka recently joined Coursera as the organization’s first global Head of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging. In this role, she will partner with executive leadership and the organization to develop and implement change by ingraining DIB into business goals and strategy. Her focus includes building and scaling an inclusive and equitable workforce through talent development initiatives, inclusive hiring and retention practices, ERGs, internal and external communications, and culture evolution. Shareka’s scope also includes a strong focus on equity through bias mitigation work, across all people practices and processes. She will also work to integrate DIB practices into partnership and product evolution. Previously, Shareka led Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at MailChimp. As a new function for the organization, she was responsible for collaborating, across the organization, on the creation and execution of a company-wide Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy. She was focused on developing learning journeys, community building resources, attraction and assessment practices and leadership coaching.
Before Mailchimp, Shareka served as Lead Diversity Business Partner – GMS at Facebook. She was responsible for the Global Marketing Solutions (GMS) organization and served as the first point of contact for diversity and inclusion for the GMS organization. Her role’s focus included providing consultative insights to the business through data, developing innovative talent attraction solutions and engagement/retention initiatives for employees.
Shareka also served as the Global Director of Diversity Programs for Groupon, Inc. In this role, she was responsible for leading global diversity attraction, selection and retention strategies. A primary focus for Ms. Nelson was the development of diverse talent pipelines for critical positions across all levels and functions. Her accomplishments include the development of a diversity scorecard, implementation of diverse slate requirements and monthly D&I training sessions for the enterprise.
Shareka also led and executed people strategies for Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) as Head of Recruiting Delivery – Gas Operations, Shared Services and Corporate. Previous experience includes stints with AGL Resources, First Data and The Right Thing Inc., an ADP company.
Shareka is a sought after speaker and has served as a panelist and facilitator for several organizations to include Women Who Tech, The Consortium, National Sales Network, The Female Quotient, University of California - Berkeley, The Grace Hopper Conference and the USC Center for Diversity and Inclusion. While her path has led her to Silicon Valley and now back to Atlanta, Shareka is originally from Sylvester, Ga and is a proud HBCU graduate of Albany State University and member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Beyond her professional commitments, Shareka has served with local community organizations in both the Bay Area and Atlanta, and currently serves on the Alliance Theater Board and recently joined the Atlanta Girls’ School Board of Trustees.
Responsible for leadership, management, hiring, training and staff development of corporate legal teams of up to 100 attorneys and support staff covering a wide range of practice areas including litigation, commercial contracting, product development, employment law and corporate compliance. Legal department budget responsibility of over $5 million annually. Workflow management, auditing document reviews and project management. Implementation and training on corporate compliance policies, procedures and programs.
Strategic Partner to C-level executive leadership in identifying and mitigating risk across all business functions including Sales, Product Development, Finance, Internal Audit, Regulatory Affairs, Risk Management and Human Resources.
Experienced Corporate Counsel delivering comprehensive legal guidance to global organizations. Subject matter expert in drafting agreements, negotiating settlements, court appearances, mediations and hearings. Collaborative Communicator focused on building and strengthening relationships with internal and external stakeholders to drive legal excellence while fostering growth.
Natasha L. Wilson is Co-Chair of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice’s Complex Employment Litigation & Trials group and Co-Chair of the Atlanta Labor & Employment Practice. She focuses her practice on labor and employment law, and devotes her legal practice to representing management in all aspects of employment law, from prevention and compliance issues to arbitration and litigation. She has litigated a wide variety of employment issues on the federal, state and local levels before courts and administrative agencies. Natasha works closely with her clients to provide counseling and consultation on employee matters, policy revisions, litigation prevention and the implementation of sound employment practices.
Prior to joining the firm, Natasha was an associate with one of the largest law firms in the Southeast. Her prior litigation experience includes representation of clients in environmental and toxic tort defense and general business litigation. She also has experience in white collar criminal defense and corporate investigations, electronic discovery and digital information. Before entering law school, Natasha worked as a television journalist for seven years.
Robyne N. Gordon is a Contracts Manager for Pandora Media in its Atlanta office. Her primary duties include reviewing advertising content and contracts related to ad sales, marketing, social media, product, editorial/creative content, content licensing and artist and events initiatives.
Prior to joining Pandora, Robyne was a Sr. Paralegal at Turner Broadcasting, where she worked with their TBS, TCM, TNT and truTV networks handling marketing and advertising law matters. Before starting her in-house journey, Robyne worked as a Sr. IP Litigation Paralegal at the law firm of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.
An Atlanta native and graduate of Florida A&M University, Robyne is passionate about education and tangible exposure opportunities for youth and young adults in the Atlanta area and currently Chair’s the KIPP WAYS Academy Advisory Board. Robyne is a lover of all entrepreneurial adventures, cooking and traveling in her “Zen” time.
Tashwanda Pinchback Dixon is a trial lawyer with over 11 years of experience of successfully resolving a wide variety of labor and employment disputes as well as providing employment counseling. Tashwanda represents management in both union and nonunion settings in the litigation of federal and state employment and labor law claims, with a particular focus on workplace safety and health (OSHA).
Anissa Floyd is Senior Counsel for employment litigation at WestRock, with responsibility for litigation in states along the eastern seaboard (specifically Maine to South Carolina). Anissa is a graduate of Spelman College in Atlanta where she graduated with top honors. She then attended Tulane Law School in New Orleans and clerked for a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. Anissa has focused most of her career on labor and employment litigation, with experience both at big law firms as well as in-house. Anissa is originally from Columbia, SC. In her spare time, she enjoys high-impact exercise and strength training.